Should I Tell My Boss about My Depression?

Deciding whether to tell a boss about a depression diagnosis is a difficult decision that should take into account job stability and workplace culture. It is possible to get special accommodations at work, as an individual coping with depression finds it harder to complete many tasks, including work. Many depression symptoms affect work performance and some people with depression may want to explain why job skills have suffered.

Depression Symptoms Affecting Job Performance

The following common signs of depression can negatively impact job performance:

  • Lost interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering details or making decisions
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Aches that do not go away with treatment

Accommodations for Depression and Mental Illness

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prevents employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against employees with a mental illness. To receive the protection an employee must let her employer know about the illness. The ADA asks employers to accommodate employees by adjusting work schedules and responsibilities to match a person’s abilities and needs.

Caution before Telling Employer about Depression

An employer does not have to provide accommodations, if it would create an “undue hardship” on the business. This would include anything that is too expensive, disruptive or would cause extreme change to the business. Employers also do not have to offer services to an employee who is a “direct threat” to herself or the health or safety of workers. If an employer reacts negatively to offering accommodations, finding a lawyer may be the only course of action. It is risky to fight a battle for workplace rights in court, and courts may side with the rights of the business.

Looking for Depression Treatment?

If you are looking for an effective program to treat depression, please call our toll-free helpline. We help individuals overcome mental illnesses with concrete steps toward recovery. Call our toll-free number 24 hours a day for advice.